Tag: Reefer Madness

Gallup: All-Time High 68% of Americans Support Cannabis Legalization

Imagine living in a world where only 12% of Americans support cannabis legalization. The year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and the Beatles played their last performance, 1969, was when Gallup first polled Americans, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be legal or not?” Nearly 90% of Americans either opposed ending prohibition or were unsure. Fast forward to 2021, and we can clearly see the success of the cannabis community all around us, in our many political and cultural victories. And Gallup has the receipts, as support for legalization has reached an all-time high of 68%, as the polling company revealed, noting the success of the movement over the decades:

Americans are more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. The 68% of U.S. adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year’s 66%; however, it is nominally Gallup’s highest reading, exceeding the 64% to 66% range seen from 2017 to 2019.

Gallup first measured the public’s views of marijuana legalization in 1969, when 12% of Americans backed it; by 1977, support had more than doubled to 28%. It did not exceed 30% until 2000 but has risen steeply in the two decades since then, and is now twice what it was in 2001 and 2003.

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The trajectory of the public’s support for the legalization of marijuana has coincided with an increasing number of states approving it. It is not entirely clear whether the shift in public opinion has caused the change in many state laws or vice versa. Given recent trends, more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in the future. Considering the high level of public support for such a measure, a change in federal policy could even occur.

While its been easy to see the success of the drug policy reform community in educating the public about cannabis, it’s always great to view hard data as our fight for freedom will only get harder in the electoral battles ahead. Reefer Madness prohibition has been the law of the land for decades and prison-industrial complex and other business interests that have perversely benefitted from arrests and convictions of those that dare to utilize cannabis, will give up their entrenched power willingly. If every state had a fair initiative process, where we can take the issue directly to voters, our electoral challenge would be much easier. Passing groundbreaking legislation that upends nearly a century of lies is still a difficult task, especially when wealthy business interests opposing legalization flex their political muscle. However, with the truth on our side and supermajority support from American voters, we just need to continue doing the hard work that has led to so many successes, step by step, state by state.

Cannabis community, come celebrate your supermajority status at Kind Leaf in beautiful, Pendleton, Oregon. Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique has the best selection in the Great Northwest and great deals that include discounts for military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens.

Congress, Pass a Jobs Bill! Legalize Cannabis.

It’s an understatement to say that there’s a lot on the plate of our nation and leaders. While our economy has started to improve, much more still needs to be done and it is imperative that we learn to adapt quickly and think about how we can best address our needs into the future, and not just plan for “the last war”. Over the past year, one of the few economic bright spots has been the cannabis industry. Legalized states have produced thousands of new jobs and generated millions upon millions in additional revenue, while the cannabis industry, with one hand tied behind its back, has emerged as an essential, multi-billion dollar industry. Ending federal prohibition will allow the cannabis industry to truly flourish with a similar tax code and access to banking services like other business sectors. As Rolling Stone reported, ending cannabis prohibition could lead to a better economic revival in states like Michigan that have lost manufacturing jobs, and all across the land:

For example, according to a recent report by the cannabis media platform Leafly, there are more legal cannabis professionals nationwide than there are electrical engineers, dentists and paramedics. In Michigan, more than half of those cannabis-related jobs were added just in 2020 alone. Referring specifically to Michigan, the report dryly notes, “In a state known for its auto industry, the number of cannabis workers is now roughly equal to the number of auto repair mechanics.”

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In 2020, according to Leafly’s findings, our industry sold $18.3 billion worth of product and supported 321,000 full-time jobs. The cannabis industry created this value last year without access to the regular security of banking and without even basic insurance programs available to every other business. Across the country, the industry did it with a concurrent illicit market competing against us every step of the way. We did it without being able to sell products between states as we do with automobiles or soybeans. Our industry is the industry of the 21st century — and it may just save us all.

This has undoubtedly been a terrible time in our country, but while so many other consumer industries have been shaken, cannabis has flourished during the darkness, proving that it can be the job creator and economic driver we need as we look to a much brighter future.

As Congress debates some serious issues about where to spend our hard-earned tax dollars and best move our nation forward, they shouldn’t ignore cannabis legalization for too long. With broad bipartisan support, sweeping Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history is a win-win for our nation. Thanks to hardworking advocates, legalization is here to stay in 17 states already, and will come to most remaining states eventually. For once, our legislators can embrace the future and help bring more jobs and revenue to communities that have suffered so much over the past year.

When you support Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton you are supporting an Oregonian-owned craft cannabis boutique that supports the local economy and community.

Congress Poised to Act on Cannabis as Over 40% of Americans Live in Legal States

With New York, Virginia, and New Mexico joining the growing number of states that have voted to legalize cannabis for adult use, over 40% of Americans now reside in states that have swept Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history where it belongs. When you add the residents of the North Mariana Islands, Guam, and Washington, D.C., over 141 million of Americans of our roughly 328 million citizens now reside where legalization has passed, more than 43% of the total population. Another 15 states and the US Virgin Islands have decriminalized, so it isn’t surprising that 75% of voters either want Uncle Sam to legalize federally or want states to have the right to determine their own destiny on the subject. Only 25% want cannabis to be illegal everywhere. The Reefer Madness Prohibition Fan Club is getting smaller by the day. Now, finally, it appears that Congress will act on a legalization bill in soon. Senate President Chuck Schumer explained to Politico:

In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, “Well what changed?” Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states — Oregon and Colorado — wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen.

The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.

I think the American people started speaking with a clear message— more than two to one — that they want the law changed. When a state like South Dakota votes by referendum to legalize, you know something is out there.

I love the fact that Senator Schumer touts the experiences of Oregon and Colorado as why his thinking on cannabis evolved, especially when the predictions of the Reefer Madness Chicken Littles, that proclaimed the sky was gonna fall, didn’t come to fruition. Interestingly, Oregon’s own Ron Wyden has been named as a senator that Schumer will be working with when the Senate moves forward on legalization. With legalization now a mainstream political position with supermajority support, the Pete Ricketts of the world spouting nonsense about how Nebraskans will be killing their children if they allow medical marijuana, are going to get more desperate, so we must continue working hard to ensure that our representatives follow the will of the voters. We’re almost there. Step by step, state by state, freedom and common sense are on the march.

It’s always a great day to venture into Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, but if you’re into extracts, White Label Extracts are 50% every Saturday until May 1st. Come to beautiful Pendleton, stop into Kind Leaf, peruse from the best selection in the Great Northwest, and every purchase continues to show the powers that be in Washington, D.C., that it’s time to end the federal war on the cannabis community. As always, there are discounts for senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients.

Nebraska Governor Infected Reefer Madness

The days of Reefer Madness are waning as legalization is supported by a supermajority of all voters, more than a dozen states have now legalized cannabis after nearly all have passed medical legislation, and there is majority support to end federal prohibition in United States House of Representatives and potentially the Senate. The hyperbolic claims of the evils of marijuana, rooted in racism and dripping with harmful propaganda over the decades, have met science and common sense and the truth has been winning a lot lately, especially at the ballot box when the voters are provided an opportunity to have their say. Even some of the biggest former promoters of Reefer Madness nonsense over the past couple of decades have tried to soften their rhetoric a bit, claiming to support decriminalization (although that usually includes forced rehab), but just opposing commercialization. Unfortunately, those used to power don’t give up easily and Reefer Madness has still infected too many, including the governor of Nebraska as the USA Today reported:

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has launched an aggressive campaign against the legalization of medical marijuana in his state, going as far as to warn residents that legalizing the drug would kill their children, even though it has never been linked to a fatal overdose. 

“This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” Ricketts told reporters on Wednesday. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.” 

The Republican governor made the statement as the state legislature is considering a bill to legalize the use of cannabis if recommended by a health care practitioner. The legislation restricts the form of consumption to oils, pills or tinctures, and prohibits marijuana smoking, even in the patient’s home. 

The notion that kids will die because Nebraskan grandparents will be able to treat their glaucoma and chronic pain with cannabis is obviously ridiculous, but it points to a huge problem facing too many voters for far too long: those in power who are completely out of touch. Given a fair vote, medicinal cannabis would win huge on the Nebraska ballot and legalizing for all adults would likely win majority support as well. Unfortunately, Reefer Madness is still alive and well and the infection has reached the highest levels of government in a handful of states such as Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Ironically, the Reefer Madness-inspired “the sky is falling” rhetoric currently employed by Nebraska’s governor was once used about decriminalization laws, the type of decrim policies that Nebraska passed back in 1978. Just as those Reefer Madness Chicken Littles were wrong about the states that passed decriminalization in the ’70s, Governor Ricketts is wrong today. State by state, freedom and common sense are on the march, but Reefer Madness has caused some to remain blind to the truth.

Reefer Madness Attacks Democracy in South Dakota and Idaho

Many Reefer Madness prohibitionists today try to claim that they aren’t of the same ilk as Harry Anslinger and lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key prohibitionists of the past, but the results are the same: unfair laws that punish people for utilizing a substance safer than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. As cannabis legalization has gone mainstream across the nation, legal changes in traditional states has anti-cannabis officials turning to anti-democratic tactics to trample the will of the voters.

It was one thing to legalize cannabis on the West Coast and other seemingly progressive and then moderate states, but reforms passing in conservative states like Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, and Mississippi has prohibitionists shook. On the heels of the Idaho Senate passing a constitutional ban on legalizing cannabis by one vote, a South Dakota judge has stricken down Amendment A, the state’s voter-approved constitutional provision, as The Hill reported:

A South Dakota judge ruled Monday that a voter-approved constitutional amendment that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use was in itself unconstitutional, setting up a legal fight that pits Gov. Kristi Noem (R) against her own constituents.

Circuit Court Judge Christina Klinger, a Noem appointee in Pierre, ruled that Amendment A violated a rule that ballot measures cover only a single subject, and that it does not conform to rules governing the way the state constitution is amended.

South Dakota voters approved Amendment A, which legalized recreational marijuana, by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin in November. A separate ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes passed with almost 70 percent support.

Recent governmental actions against both common sense and the wishes of voters demonstrates how hard it is to end prohibition across the nation. If we want to implement reforms at the federal level, the cannabis community needs to help fellow advocates in conservative states. Each state that passes medical and adult-use laws adds more representatives and senators to our fight in Congress as, while there will be some holdouts, more politicians will reflect the will of their voters as their jobs are on the line. We’ve come a long way, but much more work to be done. Let’s keep at it and remember those suffering in prohibition states.

Idaho Cannabis Community Needs to Rise Up to Stop Constitutional Ban

Now, it’s getting serious. What seemed like a desperate ploy from a bygone era, a constitutional amendment to prohibit cannabis legalization in Idaho is gaining legislative steam. Republican State Senator C. Scott Grow’s Reefer Madness-inspired bill passed out of Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on a party line vote and will now go before the full committee. If passed by the House and Idaho voters, all psychoactive drugs would forever be illegal in the Gem State unless approved by the FDA. To signify how ridiculous this constitutional amendment is, even if the federal government repealed federal prohibition by removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances, cannabis would still remain constitutionally prohibited in Idaho.

While proponents like Senator Grow spouted debunked lies like cannabis legalization leading to crime, opponents wisely pushed back with science and common sense, as ABC News reported:

Those opposed said medical marijuana is needed for Idaho residents suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. Dan Zuckerman, medical director of St. Luke’s Cancer Institute, said dealing with over a thousand cancer patients over more than a decade convinced him of the efficacy of medical marijuana in helping with pain and nausea.

“I’ve seen it myself with my own eyes,” he said. “The data is clear that patients benefit from this.”

Sen. Michelle Stennett, a Democrat from Ketchum, also noted that the amendment would prohibit doctors from providing terminally ill patients access to experimental or investigational drugs that are normally illegal but can still be prescribed in certain circumstances when other treatments have failed.

While a constitutional ban on cannabis will keep Idahoans coming to Oregon (the road trip to Pendleton to visit Kind Leaf IS worth the trek), helping create jobs and generate revenue for the Beaver State, this proposed constitutional ban is just wrong and sets a dangerous precedent for other states to follow. If Senator Grow gets his way, then other Reefer Madness prohibitionists will consider similar constitutional bans in other states, leading to more unnecessary arrests and the continuation of a domestic war that has already harmed too many nonviolent Americans.

U.S. House Spending Bills Includes Cannabis Banking and Other Reforms

The fight to end cannabis prohibition at the federal level is a slow grind, seemingly with one step forward preceded by another step or so back, but progress continues. The latest sign of cannabis law reform advancing are the initial drafts of U.S. House spending bills that include some much-needed provisions for the cannabis community. As usual, Marijuana Moment is on top of the reporting:

As Congress prepares large-scale legislation to fund federal agencies for the next year, marijuana reform seems to be making progress. House versions of spending bills unveiled this week include provisions to protect medical legalization laws from federal interference, ease marijuana businesses’ access to basic banking services, expand cannabis research, oversee the country’s fledgling hemp and CBD industries and finally grant Washington, D.C. the ability to legalize recreational sales.

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Among the most notable inclusions in the new spending bills for Fiscal Year 2021 is a provision that would remove some roadblocks to banking and financial services for state-legal cannabis businesses. Cannabis firms have been pushing lawmakers to allow such access for years. The House has passed standalone banking legislation, later inserted into a recent coronavirus bill and approved again, but so far the matter has stalled in the Senate and is yet to become law.

The new spending rider suggests House lawmakers aren’t giving up. As introduced, the spending bill introduced Tuesday to fund fiscal and general government matters restricts Department of Treasury funds from being used “to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, a producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol products, other hemp-derived cannabinoid products, marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana proceeds” that is legal under state or tribal law.

It has grown tiresome to continue having debates around the need for sensible solutions to our nation’s cannabis policies, but no one ever said that political revolutions are easy. Decades upon decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the entrenched powerful interests that have benefited from prohibition aren’t going away easily, but we are chipping away with common sense and the truth. Stay tuned as bills weave their way through Congress and be sure to contact your legislators and urge your like-minded friends and family members to do the same.

Responding to Reefer Madness Regarding IQ: Remember Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan is one of my all-time heroes. He was a giant of the scientific community and a great thinker that dared us to dream, to push the limits of our knowledge. I was so bummed when he passed away in 1996, but even in death he enriched lives, as his use of cannabis became revealed. He became the ultimate trump card when someone told you that using cannabis made you stupid, we could always point to Carl Sagan as proof that they were just spouting Reefer Madness nonsense.

You never know when Reefer Madness nonsense is going to rear its ugly head. The myth that cannabis lowers your IQ made it into the news recently, coming to light during a totally unrelated political debate that I don’t need to delve into here. Of course, leading cannabis law reform advocates were quick to counter the madness as Marijuana Moment reported:

“Trump’s remarks simply reveal that he is out of touch, given that the majority of Americans support marijuana legalization for both medical and adult use,” Sheila Vakharia of the Drug Policy Alliance said. “This type of rhetoric is fear-mongering and inflammatory.”

“The evidence is clear from the dozens of states that have legalized medical and adult use—the sky isn’t falling and the kids are alright,” she said.

Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, said that “what truly causes a decline in an individual’s intelligence is adhering to false Reefer Madness rhetoric that flies in the face of available science.”

If you hear someone spouting the Reefer Madness nonsense about cannabis making you dumb, the shorthand response can always be to refer to Carl Sagan, but if you really want to honor Sagan, you can point to the science. The most comprehensive study to date found no link between cannabis use and a decrease in IQ, as ScienceAlert covered:

The largest ever longitudinal twin study involving more than 3,000 adolescents from around the world has found little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline.

The study analysed the results of two separate studies that traced the lives of American adolescent twins over a decade, and both found that teens who engaged in regular marijuana use lost no more IQ points over time than their non-using twin siblings. 

It’s telling that Reefer Madness prohibitionists have to rely upon lies and propaganda to bolster their position that cannabis should remain illegal. Like Carl Sagan, we just have to seek out and promote the truth. In the end, the truth shall set us all free.

 

The Gateway Theory Has Been Debunked

As the cannabis legalization debate has moved into the mainstream, with 2/3 of Americans wanting to put an end to prohibition, it is still frustrating to hear those that oppose legalization cite the debunked “Gateway Theory.” There is simply no proof that using cannabis makes you want to move onto other drugs. Unfortunately, the debunked Gateway Theory is something that just won’t die, invading the public debate like a mindless zombie. Thankfully, a strong majority of people see through the nonsense and Reefer Madness propaganda.

From the good folks at the Drug Policy Alliance:

Research simply does not support the theory that marijuana is a “gateway” drug – that is, one whose use results in an increased likelihood of using “more serious” drugs such as cocaine and heroin. However, this flawed gateway effect is one of the principal reasons cited in defense of laws prohibiting the use or possession of marijuana.
Significant amounts of research as well as measures implemented in other countries suggest that there are far more effective and less harmful strategies for decreasing youth use of marijuana and reducing the potential harms of other illicit drug use than using the “gateway” myth as a scare tactic. New evidence suggests that marijuana can even serve as an “exit drug,” helping people to reduce or eliminate their use of more harmful drugs such as opiates or alcohol by easing withdrawal symptoms.
Reefer Madness prohibitionists may discount DPA, so here’s the Institute of Medicine debunking the Gateway Theory as “underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, ‘gateway’ to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”
While we are clearly winning the debate of whether to end the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition, it is still irritating to have to deal with debunked theories and stereotypes. For the cannabis community to truly be free, not just legally, but also professionally and socially, it is imperative to share your stories, including whether you and loved ones have decreased the use of more harmful drugs, like opiates and alcohol, thanks to cannabis.